Old school denim machines from Industrie Denim.
The growth of concept stores are yet another well, concept, that brands and retailers have been working on in the last few years in their attempts to attract consumers to buy their products in an actual store. Paris, which is known for the best set of concept stores in the world, ranging from Merci to Colette, have set the bar on the idea. But now, Levi Strauss and American Rag founder, Mark Werts are creating their own version for premium denim and denim-inspired apparel and accessories called Industrie Denim.
Think of them as mini Bread & Butter Trade Shows or a bunch of 14 Oz. stores from Berlin, Industrie Denim hopes to “challenge the single brand denim store” and eventually, create its own label.
The first Industrie Denim store launched in Scottsdale, AZ in October, with another in San Francisco later in the month, with plans for many more across 2012. Interestingly however, is the website and online shopping potential of Industrie Denim which represents a who’s who of denim brands along with insightful news and latest fashion videos from various designers. This is where we think more sales will come from, especially among a new generation of buyers who mostly prefer to shop online (see also Label Networks’ Fall Youth Culture Study 2011).
While the premium denim industry continues to get hammered with higher production costs, including cotton, coupled with changes in spending patterns among consumers living through difficult economic times, concept stores, which ironically, like the secondary market or vintage/thrift stores, which represent the flip-side of this evolution of shopping, may create buzz and re-energize the idea of going into stores to buy.
The whole Americana trend, and move towards craftsmanship are important to today’s consumers in some regards, but not as much as most brands may think, as indicated by our consumer insights about youth culture spending patterns and denim. Americana is important, and historic brands especially doing unique collaborations with various modern streetwear, but spending more for craftsmanship is a niche market.
However Industrie Denim features a strong portfolio of brands which will attract a cross-section of buyers, including: !Item, A.P.C., Goldsign, Earnest Sewn, Chimala, Ksubi, Joe’s Jeans, Them Atelier, PRPS, R13, WESC, Naked and Famous, Neuw, Raven Denim, and of course, Levi’s Red Tab and Levi’s Vintage Clothing (LVC).
The concept aspects of the stores include a variety of denim-inspired accessories, plus unique atmospheres to make it seem like you’re experiencing something while shopping. In the fitting rooms, there’s also a Booty Cam that allows you to see your butt towards determining if the fit is flattering or not.
Overall, the concept is interesting, but price will still be a crucial factor, not to mention the ease of online shopping vs. actually going to the concept store. Time will tell.